Indoor Air Quality: Facts You Need To Know

In an industrialized world, air pollution is a major concern. The thought of breathing in polluted air normally sends people hiding indoors in the comfort and safety of their homes. What most people do not know is that indoor air is also polluted. Lately, health and environmental experts have been raising concern about indoor air quality (IAQ) in both homes and workplaces.

 

IAQ and Public Health

According to the EPA, indoor air quality is among the top 5 health risks. Studies have shown that indoor air quality can be up to five times worse than outdoor air. The following are the top 4 causes of indoor air pollution:

 

i) Air Fresheners

Most air fresheners are known to aggravate asthma among other types of respiratory illnesses. These products contain chemicals known to disrupt reproductive development in children as well as cause interference with their hormone function. These adverse effects can be attributed to a noxious chemical known as phthalates, which are used to make the vast majority of air fresheners.

 

ii) Furnaces and Open Flames

Charcoal grills, fireplaces, candles and heating oil-based heaters are known to contributed greatly to poor indoor air quality. Burning firewood or any type of fossil fuel produces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and a variety of other harmful gases. Since carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly, carbon monoxide alarms should installed to monitor carbon monoxide levels indoors.

 

iii) Ink-Jet Printers

Ink-jet printers use printing inks containing glymes – industrial chemicals linked to infertility. The EPA has listed glymes as one of the key factors contributing to reproductive damage. Consider replacing your ink-jet printer with a laser printer to prevent damage to your reproductive system.

 

iv) Overcrowding

Public places with too many occupants, such as schools, are normally the most polluted. This is because they have up to four times the number of occupants who remain in the same space from morning to evening.

Indoor air quality can easily be improved through proper ventilation. An efficient air conditioning system can also help to remove dust, smoke, pollen and other airborne particles. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

States Plan To Increase Energy Efficiency

The governors of states have recently banded together in an effort to help the United States become more energy efficient. They hope by providing the framework to advance energy efficiency they will be able to enable the United States to overcome its great dependency on using more and more energy. The National Governors Association has released a publication entitled “An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors.” The National Governors Association illustrates how the states plan to help increase efficiency by improving energy efficiency rules and standards in this publication, and details how they plan to do so.

The publication also states specific guidelines on how the states plan to promote economic development, reduce energy expenditures at the state level, and use new technology to show the states and the utilities what infrastructure needs to be improved or built. Energy saving is an idea that all the states can get behind.

The energy savings planned by the states are not just to lower or reduce energy costs. There is a finite amount of natural resources available; by saving energy the states hope to help the environment. For example, less reliance on fossil fuels reduces emissions and lowers the amount of water needed to cool certain energy processes. These things are good for the environment.

Increased funding for private research and research by colleges and universities is also being implemented by the states. These research programs are vital in devising new, more efficient ways to use, make, and distribute the energy this country runs on.

Changes in standards, regulations, and rules for new buildings and appliances are an immediate part of the energy efficiency puzzle. These changes not only help consumers lower their energy costs, but they also mean consumers will have more of their paycheck available for purchasing goods and services; this will help the economy.

States are using new technology to find out where new infrastructure is needed, and how the old infrastructure can be used most efficiently. This technology requires sophisticated data gathering and the states are promoting this with funding and grants. Giving utilities incentives to use this data effectively to increase energy efficiency is another part of the governor’s energy efficiency plan.

All of this takes money; grants and government money only goes so far. Private sector investing is an integral important part of improving the individual states efficient use of energy. The states are making this type of investing look better to private investors, and in some cases, the states even facilitate the private sector investments by providing innovative financing and repayment options for these investors.

The governors feel that by implementing all of these changes, real energy efficiency can be accomplished state by state. States are also focusing on how to prioritize their energy needs, and by changing standards, rules, and regulations they can focus on promoting best practices.

More information about this subject can be found at http://www.nga.org/.